Scunthorpe United v Southend United – Preview

Last updated : 26 January 2003 By Robert Craven

Battling right-back Mark Beard could make a return to the side
Ex-Blues player Martin Carruthers was the catalyst that day, lobbing Darryl Flahavan for his thirteenth of the season from sixteen yards to equalise after Phil Whelan had wrongfully had a goal disallowed and Kevin Maher had missed a penalty. Steve Torpey sealed the victory, his fifteenth goal of the campaign, and Carruthers has since added another three. Despite this, the partnership may be broken as Torpey is rated at less than 50% likely to take part in proceedings, the same as loanee defender Cliff Byrne.

Matthew Sparrow is out serving a one-match suspension and Wayne Graves has picked up a stomach bug that threatens his inclusion. As a result, the Iron may include a number of youngsters in their side, although veteran winger Peter Beagrie could make his first start since his own injury cleared up. Scunny have lost their way, picking up only one point from the past two matches having gone third initially.

The Shrimpers’ season has started to look up after the proceeding defeat at Brunton Park against Carlisle, winning three on the trot. Danny Gay has been instrumental in that form, conceding only twice in four games between the sticks. The Norfolk-born performer came into the side courtesy of a groin problem sustained by Flahavan against Scunthorpe at Roots Hall, and will continue to fill that void. Flahavan, meanwhile, is expected to make a Reserve team comeback in the next week as United finally return to a full quota of goalkeepers.

Ahead of Gay, Mark Beard returned to training on Friday morning, and the 1998/9 Player Of The Year is eager to come back into the side. Should that happen, Daryl Sutch would be moved to partner Leon Cort at the centre of defence and Dave McSweeney, who will miss the next game against Hull City with a one-match ban, could be relegated to the bench. With Phil Whelan facing the prospect of a potentially career threatening fourth knee operation, and Stephen Broad only just into post-hernia operation recovery, Tom Jordan is the only other central defensive cover. Damon Searle will continue as left full-back.

Midfield is more clear-cut. The four players who tormented Oxford United in the 2-1 midweek victory all look assured of their places. Steven Clark has been a revelation on the left wing, and Danny Marney, with another month on loan from the Withdean Stadium secured, continues on the right. Neil Jenkins stands by if required to cover the pair. In the middle, club captain Kevin Maher was allowed to walk straight back into the side against Rochdale, but after struggling against Dale, he looked much more assured three days later taking on Oxford. He will be partnered by Jay Smith, who has also returned to form recently. Stuart Thurgood is another option should Newman require it, and assistant boss Steve Tilson can help out in a crisis.

Up front, Tes Bramble and Mark Rawle have suddenly re-found their scoring touches, hitting three between them in the two home games last week. Bramble particularly has appeared much livelier, and has reached eleven for the season in all competitions. Rawle is following him closely with eight. Barrington Belgrave, who endured a poor 75 minutes in the Avon Insurance Combination against Portsmouth Reserves on Wednesday, backs up the two front-men, as should Mark Salter, who will travel after beginning to train again after an ankle problem. Graeme Jones continues to be sidelined with a calf strain.

The task, despite the Seasiders three successive wins, will not be easy. Each time United have done that this season they have been halted with a defeat, and more consistency will be required if they are to embark on a run reminiscent of their opponents just a little while ago. Added to this, Blues have only ever won twice at Glanford Park, the last being a crushing 6-1 triumph in the old Third Division in 1983/4. Prior to that, Southend won 2-1 in 1977/8 in the old Fourth. All the form points towards the Shrimpers, and fairness would also decree that Blues come away with the points, but, as we all no only too well, only gutsy, confident displays bring the points home in this Division. Southend will need one this afternoon – and that could just be enough to get into the play off positions, almost unthinkable at the turn of the year.


Southend United 2 (Rawle 44, Bramble 70) Oxford United 1 (Basham 89). Line-up: Danny Gay; Daryl Sutch, Leon Cort, Dave McSweeney, Damon Searle; Danny Marney (Stuart Thurgood 93), Jay Smith, Kevin Maher, Steven Clark (Neil Jenkins 85); Tes Bramble, Mark Rawle (Barrington Belgrave 91). Subs not used: Steve Tilson, Tom Jordan.

Scunthorpe United 1 (Carruthers 28) Exeter City 1 (Devine 75).
Line-up: Tom Evans; Nathan Stanton, Mark Jackson, Clifford Byrne (Jamie McCombe 56), Andy Dawson; Lee Featherstone (Peter Beagrie 77), Matthew Sparrow, Wayne Graves, Ian Kilford; Martin Carruthers, Steve Torpey. Subs not used: Alex Calvo-Garcia, Andy Parton, Adam Capp.

Leon Cort's goal at Roots Hall should have been the springboard to victory, but the match turned with Kevin Maher's penalty miss


29th December 2002 - Southend United 1 (Cort 39) Scunthorpe United 2 (Carruthers 75, Torpey 81) - Division Three

23rd March 2002 - Southend United 2 (Cort 16, Newman 25) Scunthorpe United 0 - Division Three
23rd October 2001 - Scunthorpe United 2 (Carruthers 61, Beagrie 88) Southend United 0 - Division Three
24th February 2001 - Scunthorpe United 1 (Berry 80) Southend United 1 (Lee 18) - Division Three
23rd September 2000 - Southend United 1 (Carruthers 14) Scunthorpe United 0 - Division Three

Southend United (from):
Danny Gay, Mark Beard, Daryl Sutch, Dave McSweeney, Leon Cort, Tom Jordan, Damon Searle, Neil Jenkins, Danny Marney, Kevin Maher, Jay Smith, Stuart Thurgood, Steven Clark, Steve Tilson, Mark Rawle, Barrington Belgrave, Tes Bramble, Mark Salter.

Scunthorpe United (from): Tom Evans, Nathan Stanton, Matt Jackson, Clifford Byrne, Andy Dawson, Scott Brough, Andy Parton, Alex Calvo-Garcia, Lee Featherstone, Martin Carruthers, Wayne Graves, Steve Torpey, Neil Collins, Jamie McCombe, Ian Kilford, Peter Beagrie, Adam Capp, Andy Parton.


Referee: Tony Leake (Lancashire)
Assistant Referees: Wayne McIntosh (Lincoln), Andy Page (Derbyshire)

Leake has a fairly lenient reputation in the Football League, having given out only two red cards in fifteen games so far this season, as well as 37 caustions. Most of his matches have actually been in Division One, so he is climbing the refereeing hierarchy, and last year he took charge of the Play Off Final at the Millenium Stadium won by Cheltenham Town against Rushden & Diamonds, where he went through the game without handing out a single card.

However, a few weeks previously, for his last Southend match, he had lost his cool in a melee shortly before half-time in the last game of the season up at Macclesfield Town, booking six and sending off Town’s David Riddler. Indeed the cards seem to fly when the Shrimpers are involved, another six cautioned in a 1-0 defeat at Darlington three years ago, whilst Jeroen Boere was given his marching orders in a 3-1 defeat at Northampton in February 1998. On the whole he hands out about three yellow cards a game, and a red every couple of fixtures, although he is prone to inconsistency.


Overall (all Football League):

Southend United 10
Scunthorpe United 16
Draws 11

At Glanford Park:
Southend United 2

Scunthorpe United 10

Draws 6

Robert Craven